What Does the Bible Really Teach About Homosexuality by Kevin DeYoung
As the debate surrounding same-sex marriage heightens in the airwaves of our culture, there is no measure of this issue dying down anytime shortly. We have heard both sides of the issues, from the evangelical Christian to the mainline Protestant. Yet, we still do not have a book that deals succinctly with the biblical arguments and yet answers the specific questions people have about homosexuality. In steps seasoned pastor Kevin DeYoung, no stranger to debates, with his new book, What Does the Bible Really Teach About Homosexuality? Kevin doesn’t merely repeat old arguments but seeks to get into the context of the biblical passages and objections from those who support homosexuality.
The book is divided into two major sections, the first dealing with understanding God’s Word and what it says about homosexuality (3 passages in the OT, 3 in the NT), and the second dealing with common objections (from wrong side of history, God of love, etc.). What was really fascinating to me in reading the book was that Kevin did not just go to the scholars who think like him but also included lesbian and queer studies professors who understood quite clearly what the bible teaches about homosexuality. In one instance, “The gay Dutch scholar Pim Pronk, after admitting that many Christians are eager to see homosexuality supported by the Bible, states plainly, “In this case that support is lacking.”2 Although he doesn’t think moral positions must be dependent on the Bible (which is why he can support homosexual behavior), as a scholar he recognizes that “wherever homosexual intercourse is mentioned in Scripture, it is condemned. . . . Rejection is a foregone conclusion; the assessment of it nowhere constitutes a problem. (55).”
In parsing Romans 1.26-27 Kevin also looks at what popular philosophers of the day thought about para physin or contrary to nature in terms of homosexuality’s relationship to nature. Kevin writes, “For example, Musonius Rufus, a popular philosopher who lived around the same time as the Apostle Paul, observed, “But of all sexual relations those involving adultery are most unlawful, and no more tolerable are those of men with men, because it is a monstrous thing and contrary to nature (41).” Kevin goes onto build his case by a return to the natural design or way that God first created all humanity.
In Appendix 2 Kevin responds with a healthy dose of grace to those struggling with same sex attraction. He writes, “I imagine a young man coming up to me as his pastor and saying, through tears, “I find myself attracted to men instead of women. I feel so dirty. I’m so ashamed. I feel bad, miserable, and mad at myself and like a failure before God every second of the day.” In this situation I would eventually get to the call of Christian discipleship to live in purity of thought and deed, but that’s not where I would start because this man already feels impure. I’d tell him that feeling this does not make him a failure, and that the desire to walk in holiness is evidence of the Spirit’s work in his life. I’d tell him about the good news of the gospel (106).” This winsome and grace-filled response is truly beautiful and something everyone needs to hear.
Overall, I really enjoyed this book and its balance of biblical faithfulness and practical guidance in all the issues surrounding homosexuality.
Thanks to Crossway for the copy of this book in exchange for an honest review